Oct 23, 2007

[Pink News] SC vs Trannie

Flickr: Zudzowne - Find the real woman
Photo from Zudzowne's photostream.

If I hadn't been combing Inquirer.net for more information about the Glorietta 2 bombing incident and to keep my casualty / injured list up-to-date, I probably would have missed this article. I can't find references to it anywhere else other than the Inquirer, so I guess I should count myself fortunate about seeing it at all, which sort of makes it even sadder.

The article talks about how the Philippine Supreme Court denied the request of a post-operation transsexual to have his name and gender status changed so that "she" can get married to her fiancé. While technically a complete woman, she has been denied given several reasons, which only reminds all of us of the state of GLBT rights in our country today.

The crux of the argument of the Supreme Court is that inasmuch as they want to grant the request of Rommel, the transsexual in question, to change his name to Mely, they can't given the nature of the laws of the Philippines at this time along with the interests of public policy cannot allow for it. In their 22-page decision, they even went as far as acknowledging that the Civil Register Law remains largely unchanged since the early 1900s but it's not the Supreme Court's place to change the law.

I'm not at all mad at the Supreme Court in this case - they're just executing the law in its present form. However What does disappoint me is that as a country, we continue to tread upon the rights of GLBT members for things even as basic as being recognized for the gender that they've become through sex reassignment surgery. I'm not even talking about the big things like gay marriage or the right to adopt children but just the fundamental things like being recognized in the eyes of the law for who we are and allowing us to change status to reflect changes like sex reassignment.

The plight of Mely, as I choose to address her by her "true" name, is significant since it's one of the few instances when someone has actually tried to push for their fundamental rights as human beings within the Philippine legal system. It may not seem like a roaring protest and even now will go largely unnoticed as just another news item but still it means something for gay rights advocates out there. It shows all of us that we do have rights and they're worth standing up for and we can't just forego trying since we expect to fail. While Mely probably has a long legal struggle ahead of her should she push to continue her case, still this is not a failure but a success in a manner of speaking. For the case to reach all the way to the Supreme Court and to be recognized thus is important for future dealings with the Philippine Government System as we have many legal battles ahead of us if we're to get the rights that we deserve as human beings.

I applaud you, Mely! I hope against hope that you find the happiness you deserve and that somehow your modest action will help remind all of us of the inequality we silently acceed to today.

1 comment:

  1. That's why it is essential for the LGBT community to lobby Congress, to elect the right legislators. Our laws are antiquated, and they will only be revised if the legislators want to (or compelled to).

    Realistically, it will take a while (decades, actually). Just look at the case of Ang Ladlad. Their party list run was dashed just because Abalos and the gang are conservatives.